Robert Cole

Obituary of Robert E Cole

Robert Edward Cole, known as Bob to his many friends and family, was born on November 14, 1935 in Charlotte, North Carolina to Edward and Annie Sue Cole. He spent most of his childhood in Winterville, North Carolina where he loved playing basketball and tennis, among other sports. He also learned about hard work by spending his summers cutting tobacco. After graduating high school, he attended Mars Hill College. Following Mars Hill, he decided to join the Navy where he discovered is first love—flying. While stationed in Kingsville, Texas he met and married his true love Ruth Dietz. After being discharged from the Navy, he attended Baylor University and while in Waco, Texas his first child, Robert, Jr. was born. They settled in Kansas City, Missouri so Bob could begin a long career as a pilot with Trans World Airlines and soon a daughter, Ruth Anne, joined the family. He worked for TWA for almost 30 years as both a pilot and a flight instructor. He traveled the world, taking his family with him on many adventures, including a three-week trip around the world. After he retired from TWA, he and Ruth moved to Sri Lanka where he flew for Air Lanka for several years. It was in Sri Lanka he decided to start running. He ran his first marathon in Sri Lanka, while he ran in his New Balance shoes, he was impressed that many of the local runners were able to run barefoot. Living in Sri Lanka and having run one marathon he qualified to run in the New York City Marathon, which occurred on his 58th birthday. After Sri Lanka, he went to Kazakhstan to fly the presidential plane. He then took a job with Boeing Flight Safety training pilots for Delta and then moving to Korea to train pilots for Korean Air. He truly enjoyed passing on his love and knowledge of flying. Bob loved God, his family and flying. He also loved making people laugh and playing endless practical jokes, it wasn’t unusual for him to go to an appointment disguised as a biker complete with arms full of tattoos, long hair and fake teeth. He enjoyed following sports from college basketball to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. He enjoyed watching the Chiefs his entire life, he just said as he got older he didn’t let them losing ruin his entire day anymore. He was lucky enough to travel to many places most people only dream of from an expedition to the North Pole to Australia to the DMZ of the Koreas and Cuba. In between all the travels he stayed busy when at home trying his hand at many things from real estate to worm farming. He was always ready to try something new, which lead him to parachute out of a plane on his 80th birthday! When he retired from the airline industry, he and Ruth retired to South Texas where he took up trading stock options to try something new. Eight years ago they moved to Punta Gorda where Robert and his wife Susan live. He was active in his church, Sacred Heart, and enjoyed having wine with his friends and neighbors at Points West. He always had a generous pour for anyone who came to visit. Bob had a complete joy of life. He never met a stranger and could listened to anyone, anytime like they were the most important person in the world. He passed away peacefully surrounded by family on January 9, 2020. He will be missed by many and is survived by his wife Ruth, his son Robert, daughter-in-law Susan, his daughter Ruth Anne, son-in-law Mike and his granddaughter Sydney. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation or Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The funeral mass will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 11:00am on January 24, 2020.